SL pharmaceutical industry gets incentives to meet 75% of demand
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): The Government’ plans to incentivise additional pharmaceutical manufacturers to establish operations in Sri Lanka with the aim of enabling them to meet a minimum of 75% of the nation’s pharmaceutical demand.
Unveiling this ambitious plan Minister of Industry and Health Dr. Ramesh Pathirana recently said that currently, only approximately 20% of Sri Lanka’s pharmaceutical needs are produced domestically.
The Minister further said that a National Policy for Industrial Development (NaPID) has been crafted and has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance for its endorsement prior to its presentation to the Cabinet.
The NaPID is intended to be incorporated into Sri Lanka’s National Policy Framework (2023-2048).
More companies are engaging with local pharmaceutical manufacturing and Sri Lanka will be able to amass around US$ 15 million export revenue from Pharma exports by 2030 said President Sri Lanka Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (SLPMA) Kalana Hewamallika.
Currently this figure is around USD 5 million. He recalled that in 1956, Sri Lanka took a momentous leap into the Western pharmaceutical industry when Pfizer –Dumex Ltd, entered the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector which marked the beginning of Sri Lanka’s journey towards its footprint in the pharmaceutical field.
“By manufacturing high-quality Western medicines, local companies are actively contributing to the creation of a self-sufficient Sri Lanka, which will result in the saving of foreign currency.
Presently, local manufactures produce more than 150 molecules of medicines, ooconsisting of more than 50 therapeutic categories and exceeding 10 dosage forms.
Local manufacturers of pharmaceuticals command 15% of the market share and approximately 25% of the essential medicines used in the government hospitals and clinics are supplied by our manufacturers.”
Due to this process these companies have saved the country around US$ 100 million annually and this number is fast increasing. “Establishment of Oya Maduwa Pharma zone in Anuradhapura too is a step taken in the right direction,” he disclosed.
Medical and pharmaceutical expenditure of the country during 2020 was recorded at US$ 600 million.
By 2022, it has reached a value of US$ 750 million, posting a five-year annual growth rate of 4.1%.
Currently, 84.6% of pharmaceutical needs are imported and about 15 local manufacturing plants including Sri Lanka Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation SPMC provide the balance 15.4% of the requirement with an estimated value of Rs 18 billion annually.
The annual budget estimate for importing medicines and surgical consumables is 300 million US dollars.
As of January 2023, Sri Lanka was still facing a funding gap of 220 million US dollars to import essential medicines and supplies.
Sri Lanka’s government owed Rs 25.7 billion in arrears to foreign pharmaceutical suppliers, he added.